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Ebook Pricing War Wages On....Apple vs Amazon

DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
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One of these entities is naturally fulfilling its role in the market by means of providing goods and services that consumers are willing to pay by being competitive the other is not.

This article example highlights how one business which dominates the market in a natural fashion is labeled a monopoly. It offers lower prices that consumer are willing to accept versus a competitor's price over the similar goods and services. However this monopoly (in name only) is actually beneficial to the consumer because it is retaining its control on the market solely due to its ability to offer lower priced goods and services more efficiently then its competitors.

While the other competitor who cannot compete using their own price scale attempts to create a cartel of publishers in attempt to enforce higher prices onto the market to allow it to complete with its rival at the expense of the consumer.

In addition this same competitor is attempting to use the power of government to brute force its position into the market by removing the biggest competition in favor of their pricing plan and cartel of book publishers by decrying its competitor's position as being a abusive monopoly and then attempting to underhandedly insert its own control over the market again via the use of government and a cartel they help to create for their own benefit.



http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2404884,00.asp

Ebook Pricing War Wages On

Personally, I thought that the dispute over ebook pricing was long over. I really had no idea that Apple was still fighting accusations of antitrust violations. But, yes, Apple still is.

Curiously, I think Apple's meta-arguments are valid. It suggests something is wrong with the way Amazon does business.

In actuality, this whole case has to do more with price-fixing than anything else. Apple teamed up with five publishers to fix the prices of ebooks in an effort to attack the dominant player in the arena, namely Amazon. What it did was technically wrong.

Apple is crying foul, arguing that the U.S. government is taking the side of a monopolist—Amazon. The company also says it's ridiculous to attack its consortium because it constitutes being against competition.

Three partners in the scheme—Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster—make Apple's position weaker because they have agreed with government and settled. Macmillan and Pearson are still trying to figure out what to do.

The Wall Street Journal outlined the original complaint as thus:

The five publishers and Apple hatched an arrangement that lifted the price of many best-selling e-books to $12.99 or $14.99, according to the suit. The publishers then banded together to impose that model on Amazon, the government alleged. "As a result of this alleged conspiracy, we believe that consumers paid millions of dollars more for some of the most popular titles," said Attorney General Eric Holder.

It sounds like price-fixing to me. Apple and its band of publishers seem to think they are somehow getting screwed over by Amazon's low pricing structure.

For years, big New York publishing companies have hated Amazon. It lowballs their book, sells new books at used book prices, abuses review copy policies, screws up the royalty system with authors, and generally refuses to play ball with the big boys.

Apple sees this as anticompetitive or monopolistic. The irony is that once monopolies are established, they tend to eventually gouge the customer, not the suppliers. Just the opposite is happening here. In fact, Apple and its gang are the ones acting like a monopoly with higher prices!

This is a very convoluted situation. I cannot see how Apple can justify it or expect to win if it fights it. The company is obviously thinking in some new dimension.

I am surprised that all this happening in the first place since no administration in Washington has been much for getting on any antitrust bandwagon. Companies have been gobbling each other up like crazy and nobody blinks an eye. You want to see price-fixing? Look at the airlines. It's ridiculous. So why ebooks?

Some people blame Apple's cavalier attitude toward lobbying—in other words, throwing money at Congress in some form or another. It doesn't do it.

If Apple wants to keep fighting this, then maybe it should rethink the way it does politics.
 
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Wreckem

Diamond Member
Sep 23, 2006
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Selling products for losses ultimately harms consumers in the long run. Amazon only got a monopoly on e-books because it sold them for losses.

I have no problem with a company selling hardware for a loss like MS and Sony. But selling content for a loss harms content providers.
 
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DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
4,269
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Apple is complaining about pricing and turf protection? Thats hilarious.

The issue though is that they are complaining that prices are "too low" apparently we should all be made to pay the "Apple Tax" for the pleasure of allowing us to buy from Apple.
 
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Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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Selling products for losses ultimately harms consumers in the long run.
If you don't have a Kindle you might not know that some ebooks are sold above print prices. Further the cost of electronic distribution is nil compared to that of print and then there is the cost of printing itself. There is no "at a loss".
 

DucatiMonster696

Diamond Member
Aug 13, 2009
4,269
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Selling products for losses ultimately harms consumers in the long run because it puts all competitors out of business.
Book publishers aren't going away. Apple may bow out of the ebook retail space but they won't die off because of it. Furthermore book publishers will always have the ability to negotiate with Amazon and their competitors to seek the price scale they are willing to sell their products at and for which consumers are willing to pay.

That is unless Amazon decides to go the Apple route in attempting to form a cartel of publishers to accomplish a similar form of price fixing that Apple is seeking. If Amazon does this though they would just be leaving themselves open to future competition from Apple or other retail ebook sellers because then price as a form of competition would be removed from their control.

Edit: Also there are many publishers (niche ones for example) who don't sell their products via Amazon or other retail ebook sellers because they would rather keep the profits for themselves and their authors. A good example is the publisher "The Black Library" who sell sci-fi and fantasy Games Workshop ebooks only on their website.

http://www.blacklibrary.com/Home/homeBL.html

None of these ebooks, audio books and audio dramas are sold or licensed to be sold on Amazon or any other online retail site. You can however find the paper backs and CD's on Amazon but then you have to pay for shipping, tax (if applicable) for physical books and cds that are more expensive price wise.
 
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woodie1

Diamond Member
Mar 7, 2000
5,947
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Apple is complaining about pricing and turf protection? Thats hilarious.
That pretty much sums up the situation. lol

How much money has apple spent on legal fees over the last couple of years with all the people/firms they're suing? No wonder their prices are so high.
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
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If you don't have a Kindle you might not know that some ebooks are sold above print prices. Further the cost of electronic distribution is nil compared to that of print and then there is the cost of printing itself. There is no "at a loss".
This, pretty much.

Given the variable costs of nearly zero, most Kindle books are arguably overpriced compared to their print equivalents.
 

waggy

No Lifer
Dec 14, 2000
68,155
9
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This, pretty much.

Given the variable costs of nearly zero, most Kindle books are arguably overpriced compared to their print equivalents.
yeah we just got akindle. i was amazed at how expensive some books are.

really ebooks should be 3-4bucks at a max.
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
50,880
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The real issue is that Apple hates those who make money instead of them, and that which they cannot sue or bully into submission. Amazon is just that and while Apple goes on a tirade Amazon acts as if it's faced with a boorish, loudmouthed, spoiled kid and ignores it. The Brat just keeps on whining. This is funny.
 

senseamp

Lifer
Feb 5, 2006
34,798
4,695
126
Apple thinking prices are "too low" is not an excuse for a price fixing conspiracy.
 

Slick5150

Diamond Member
Nov 10, 2001
8,761
3
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e-books are ridiculously overpriced. I was looking at one last night in which Amazon was selling the hardcover, shipped via 2-day prime, for $11.99 while the Kindle version was $14.99. Please explain how this can possibly make any sense, other than Apple decided e-books should cost more and got publishers to go along with them.
 

nageov3t

Lifer
Feb 18, 2004
42,826
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it'll only screw the publishers over in the end.

all I really buy anymore are stuff from independent publishers or self-published authors (and when I do buy a physical book from a top-tier publishing house, I'll wait till I can buy it used for a couple bucks)
 

Matt1970

Lifer
Mar 19, 2007
12,321
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Apple should be ashamed of themselves but they have never been a big fan of low prices. They have a long history of taking standard hardware, adding their own propritary interface and trippling the price.
 

DaveSimmons

Elite Member
Aug 12, 2001
40,736
669
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Selling products for losses ultimately harms consumers in the long run. Amazon only got a monopoly on e-books because it sold them for losses.

I have no problem with a company selling hardware for a loss like MS and Sony. But selling content for a loss harms content providers.
False. The ebook market was tiny before Amazon entered it. Amazon built the larger market for ebooks by offering reasonably-priced hardware, getting more complete publisher agreements than Sony, etc. before them had bothered to do, marketing heavily to their existing customers, and selling some books for less than what they paid publishers for them as a loss leader. Just like a grocery store offers loss leaders on a few items to lure you to visit and buy the rest of their normally-priced stock.

People chose the Kindle over Sony, etc. because of a combination of the above. I didn't buy a single $9.95 NYT bestseler for mine before Apple "allegedly" colluded to raise prices.

If you dig up old threads here, many people predicted that the Kindle would fail as a product. This wasn't a large and established market that Amazon was trying to take over, it was a gamble that they could grow a market from almost nothing.

The situation was similar to the tablet market and the iPad -- tiny, stagnant market before it, huge "monopoly" for Apple because they made the first tablet that large numbers of consumers actually wanted.
 

SilthDraeth

Platinum Member
Oct 28, 2003
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The worst is when you buy a physical book, only to find that the pages are all cut uneven, and are of poor paper quality. I have in the past bought a brand new hard cover, only to have it look like a bargain bin book that should have been sold as a defective book.

I don't have a kindle, but have bought a few kindle books and read them on my PC and Android phone. I agree though, a lot of books are overpriced considering the cost of the medium.
 

Newbian

Lifer
Aug 24, 2008
24,640
669
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If the ebook is not 50% or lower then the book version I don't bother getting it.

Making them more expensive then the actual book version always makes me laugh.
 

Charles Kozierok

Elite Member
May 14, 2012
6,762
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yeah we just got akindle. i was amazed at how expensive some books are.

really ebooks should be 3-4bucks at a max.
Depends on the book.

A simple novel, fine. But I'm sure as hell not going to write a 1,500 page technical book and sell it for $3.

Remember that when you buy an electronic book, a lot more of your money is actually going to the author. When you buy a print book, the author is lucky to get 10% of the MSRP.
 

Phokus

Lifer
Nov 20, 1999
23,003
770
126
What Apple did was indefensible and i hope the justice department fucks them a new asshole.
 

Darwin333

Lifer
Dec 11, 2006
19,947
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Depends on the book.

A simple novel, fine. But I'm sure as hell not going to write a 1,500 page technical book and sell it for $3.

Remember that when you buy an electronic book, a lot more of your money is actually going to the author. When you buy a print book, the author is lucky to get 10% of the MSRP.
Whats the difference? If the author gets $3 from selling a hardcover book that has a msrp of $30 or he gets $3 from the sale of an ebook that sold for $10 the author is likely to make more money in the long run due to the cheaper price of the ebook.

I have no clue what it costs to print, ship, stock, and sell books from brick and mortars or online at Amazon but it has to be considerably more than transferring a pdf (or whatever).
 

Hayabusa Rider

Admin Emeritus & Elite Member
Jan 26, 2000
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Whats the difference? If the author gets $3 from selling a hardcover book that has a msrp of $30 or he gets $3 from the sale of an ebook that sold for $10 the author is likely to make more money in the long run due to the cheaper price of the ebook.

I have no clue what it costs to print, ship, stock, and sell books from brick and mortars or online at Amazon but it has to be considerably more than transferring a pdf (or whatever).
There is utility in the information which goes beyond the printing or distribution costs. If years are spent on an abstruse and highly technical subject then there will never be a high demand. In this case neither 30 nor 10 dollars will compensate the author for his work. In that case both costs will be high, although if the price of the ebook is slightly less to account for physical production differences then that's understandable. It's not going to be 5 bucks though.
 

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